Nickles and Dimes

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About Nickles and Dimes

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  • Location Stuttgart
  • Nationality USA
  1. U.S. Social Security

      Thanks! I've heard of this measure. Like many employers, mine is eager for younger workers (A friend of mine just got "laid-off" or fired, I don't know which, after 25 years as a manager in a logistics co. He's taking 2 years of unemployment (retraining) and then he will look at PT work to finish up his few years before retirement). Myself, after almost 30 years in the same field, I'm interested in doing something else for work, but I need to consider what will happen if I cannot find that something else.   Thanks again. Much appreciated.  
  2. U.S. Social Security

    "if you get out of public you will not get back in" Good point. I read a lot about this topic. For anyone contemplating leaving "public" - don't do it! Unless, of course, you've got the bucks to pay. In my opinion, even if you have the money, it's better just to stay in public and pay any "extras" you might desire. With my "public" ins. I've been receiving "private" healthcare services since I was first enrolled. I pay a few extra euros here and there to these "private" doctors. And compared to U.S. healthcare? It's like a bargain basement fire sale.
  3. U.S. Social Security

    Yes, I'm thinking it would be best to do that. Surprisingly, my initial conversations on the phone with TK were quite good, but it is difficult to get firm responses. Thanks.
  4. U.S. Social Security

      Yes! That will be a must. Right now, I'm trying to see how the pieces "might" fit together.  Not so far in the future, I will have to juggle  a few things back in the U.S. like estate and property taxes, etc. Biggest problem is finding someone who really understands both systems - USA and Germany.   Thanks very much!
  5. U.S. Social Security

    Correct, the city pension starts at 62, no deferment bonus like SS. (And, my understanding is that a foreign pension like SS or a city pension won't qualify for any reduced rate with healthcare - I'll will be categorized "voluntary" not "statutory" and pay the approx. 18%) So, yes I am now thinking more and more about using savings (in some form or another). The question is: How would I qualify for the "savings" rate for healthcare contributions? What would my income situation have to be? What is the process? Thanks again!
  6. U.S. Social Security

    yes, 63 is something that needs to be looked at. staying in the statutory german insurance is a priority since i will be mostlly here rather than there -usa.. (usa health ins. is ridiculous even if you can afford it. dental is excluded and out of pockets costs often reach into the (tens of)1000s - and no one blinks an eye 'cause they're used to it. ( the book i bought gave a figure of something like 14.4% ( 3.6%/year?) a the reduction that would be applied for someone who retires at 63 instead of 67. but i think it is calculated (reduced) by each month you retire early.)  
  7. U.S. Social Security

    Well, it looks like 63 might be the sweet spot to retire, due to the fact that it would keep me in the system and in statutory healthcare, which has tax advantages over the voluntary healthcare. (I could also defer my USA SS until 67 or 70 and receive more $$.) A decent book I bought (2015 ed.) "used' for about 5-6 euros is: Finanzplaner 60+: Steuern, Recht und Finanzen für die zweite Lebenshälfte    
  8. U.S. Social Security

    "Depends as well what you pay in and what kind of life-style you want as a pensioner." Good point. I'd like to still travel in my 60s and that will cost $$$. (Can't say I really see as much enjoyment to be had later on - 70s, 80s - and 90s!) All told, I'll have enough (3 public pensions, 2 private pensions, stock portfolio, an inheritance).  It's just a matter of when each should be activated, and, how early I can retire. More is certainly better. I've never met a retiree yet who said, "I should've saved less."
  9. U.S. Social Security

    Yes, I have considered age 63. It might be a very good idea. Even after 22 years employed in the German pension system, the German pension won't really amount to much. This is the downside, however the upside is that I could delay my SS until 67 or 70 and receive more. And, the smaller amount of the German pension would not impact my USA SS as much when they do the WEP calculation.  So, taking early retirement in the German system could be the solution. i assume my other USA city pension would start at age 62 and  be factored in as income with the German pension to determine healthcare costs. But I'm a still unsure about all this and am looking at the finer details in the rules and regulations. The link below seems to state that healthcare companies want a piece of foreign pensions and that foreign pensions must be reported to the healthcare company as total income. ( I assumed that this was a given, that people added up all their incomes (or is it just pensions?) and then the healthcare costs were computed from the total income (or total pension incomes)?  
  10. U.S. Social Security

    Using savings sounds like an option I should look into. I wonder if there is the possibility of "locking in" a fixed rate by paying up front for healthcare? And private health ins.? Don't know, for my age it looks pricey. Yes, the issue with IRAs (tax deferred investment savings) seems to be the greatest problem. How to spend down (or withdraw and save) a 401K appears complicated. My 401K is actually a 403(b) (public schools or churches) and I stopped paying into it in 2005, when I started working here in Germany. Some people have said it will be taxed like regular income if it was started before 2005, which it was, while others say I may have to pay capital gains taxes just like one would on an investment portfolio. Let me know how it goes with the 401K and how the Finanzamt views it. I'm going to try to contact an American CPA I used some years ago who was well-informed about the German tax system.   As far as delaying and deferring my SS until later, I still need to do the backward calculation of taking my SS at age 70 and gaining 24% in benefits. My assumption so far is that deferring my SS would work better in the U.S., but with a German pension to be collected at age 67 I will fall under the SSA's WEP rule and my SS will be reduced. I've actually calculated my S.S. WEP on my own, and with the SSA's WEP calculator. The SSA's calculator is generous and does not reduce my pension by as much as my own calculation.  (Most other retirees I have spoken with say that they experienced a 35-40% reduction in their SS when they activated their foreign pension.) Looking only at SS, financially, the breakeven point for me between taking SS at age 62 or 67 is around age 88/89. Meaning that not until age 88/89 would taking SS at age 67 be financially more profitable (the age 67 SS would begin to surpass the age 62 SS in total value). (In addition to SS, I also collect a U.S. city employee pension - which starts at 62 without any benefit if one defers it)      
  11. U.S. Social Security

    Thanks very much, lunasuenos! One problem is that the SSA, which oversees S.S., has some vague phrasing in their rules and regs. In one pdf  put out by the SSA, I read that expats can only work 45hours/month if they collect their USA S.S. early, that is, before age 67. In another paragraph of the same doc., it stated that this max. amount is 15-45 hours/month in certain cases (skilled labor, business owners,etc.) .   UPDATE: Just contacted my health ins.: The TK customer service person was fairly good. He took about 20-25 minutes to explain things. His opinion, as I feared, was that I would pay 100% of the voluntary health ins. until age 67 - when I register for my German pension. At age 67, my health ins. would have to recalculate my contribution to determine how much the govt. would contribute to the health ins. The 50-50 split that I receive now with my employer would, in TK's opinion,  not be picked up by the govt. until age 67, and they might not pay 50%, but less, like 30-40%. Jeez! They've really got everyone by the you-know-what!  
  12. U.S. Social Security

    Hi everyone, I would like to obtain more information about USA Social Security pensions for expats living in Germany More specifically, the rules and regulations on retiring in Germany with 2 pensions: USA Social Security pension and German Rente (pension). My situation is that I will retire at age 62 with a USA S.S. pension after having working 22 years with a German company here in Germany. My health insurance is public (statutory). I will receive a German pension at age 67. The Deutsche Rent has sent me information but there is very little info. available about how the 2 pensions will be regulated. I am aware of how the taxes work, Totalization Agreements, so I do not need more info. on that topic. I've asked the USA SSA - Social Security Administration - for more information, but they only refer me to their website links in emails. Firsthand experience from U.S. retirees in Germany would be very welcome! (Searching online? I have searched everywhere and come up with very little)   Does anyone have specific experience or specific knowledge concerning:   1. USA S.S. WEP - Windfall Elimination Provision: if one collects a USA S.S. pension and a foreign pension, the USA S.S. may be reduced by up to 40%. 2. Working during retirement: in the U.S. there is a maximum income limit imposed by the SSA "How We Deduct Earnings From Benefits. In 2021, if you're under full retirement age, the annual earnings limit is $18,960. If you will reach full retirement age in 2021, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $50,520." What are the limits if one is a resident in a foreign country, like Germany? (Someone indicated that the income thresholds above do not apply, but that Americans are limited by work hours/month - something like 45hours/month?) 3. Health Insurance: if a person retires early with USA S.S. pension - before age 67 -  how is their German health insurance affected? If the person is obligated to pay on their own, would they re-enter the public health system at age 67, when they collect their German pension?   Thanks very much!
  13. Getting US Social Security While Living in Germany

    Hi I would like to start a "new" 2021 topic: Social Security for Expats Much of the information in the forums is dated or incomplete. How does one go about starting a new topic?
  14. The process for starting a new topic

    How does one go about starting a new topic? I'd like to have a topic that covers the rules and regulations concerning Social Security: -US Social Security -German Social Security   More specifically, I am interested in finding out what happens when an American begins to collect USA Social Security and German Rente. There are a number of regulations concerning reporting of taxes, how much one can work, how much one's USA SS may be reduced if one i collecting a German pension.
  15. Retiring to Germany as a U.S. citizen

    Collecting 2 Pensions: USA SS and German pension   Be sure to inquire about the WEP: If you collect a USA Social Security pension and a foreign pension, the USA pension will be reduced due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. Unlike foreign pensions, USA SS pensions compensate generously people who work less than 30 years by paying them MORE than what they should normally receive. The rationale is that workers who were employed less than 30 years will not have enough in retirement and will need supplemental income. However, if a person is working and contributing to a foreign pension system, then the USA govt. sees it differently, i.e., this person is not in need as we assumed due to the fact that they will be collecting 2 pensions. (In many ways, it's a very socialist concept - spread some of the SS wealth to those in need. Unlike the German pay-as-you-go, you only get what you give system). What this means, is that your USA SS pension will be reduced, by anywhere from 20-45%, IF you receive a foreign pension during the same time period. Having 20+ years with USA SS is a bonus. Your SS reduction should be smaller. That said, some expats retire at age 62 (or 63,64,65 ..) which results in a permanent 30% reduction in their SS - since full retirement is 67 - however they will not apply for their German pension until age 67, so they have 5 years of full (age 62) SS payments without any WEP reduction . Of course, when they reach age 67 and collect their German pension, the USA SSA will apply the WEP and reduce their USA SS and there will be considerably less. How much depends on how many years they worked in the USA. Use the SSA website: WEP calculator for an estimate. By the way, if you "run" your numbers, you may find out that the amount you receive from the USA SS if you retire at age 62 will put you ahead financially than if retire at age 67, at which time you will have to take the WEP and a reduction in your SS check. How far ahead might you be if you retire at 62? Some expats have figured out that the breakeven point if one takes SS at age 62, rather than 67, is not reached until age 88,89.